Qatar diplomatic row to affect flying in the Middle East

If you have been keeping track, Qatar has been isolated this morning by their Middle Eastern brethren. United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are currently four countries which have cut ties with Qatar. As a result, flights are impacted in the middle east as well. Here is a summary of all that is happening at the moment, and this may impact your travel schedule as well.

All the five countries have halted air traffic with Qatar and restricted their airspace for Qatari flights as well.

Etihad Airways was the first off the bat, to suspend all further flights to Qatar. Their last flight to Qatar will depart tonight. Here is the notice from Etihad Airways:

From the evening of 5 June 2017, Etihad Airways will suspend all flights to and from Doha until further notice.

The last flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha will depart as EY391 at 21:35 (local time) on 5 June. The last flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi will depart as EY398 at 22:50 (local time) on 5 June. The aircraft for these flights has been upgraded to a Boeing 777.‎

All customers who are booked on Etihad Airways flights to and from Doha are being provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Etihad Airways destinations.

They also posted another item:

Following its announcement of the suspension of flights between Abu Dhabi and Doha, Etihad Airways will upgrade its EY395/EY396 flights to and from Doha today, 5 June.

This afternoon’s rotation will be operated by a larger Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

Emirates has also suspended flights from 6 June. Here is their current updated statement.

As instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of 6 June 2017, until further notice. The last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart as EK847 at 02:30am on 6 June. The last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart as EK848 at 03:50am on 6 June.

Emirates’ flights to and from Doha today (5 June), will operate as normal. Travellers bound for Doha, who are boarding their flight from airports around the Emirates network today (5 June), will be advised to make alternative arrangements.

All customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and rebooking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations.

FlyDubai will be suspending flights from tomorrow onwards. Here is their statement:

From Tuesday 06 June 2017 all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will be suspended until further notice. Today (05 June 2017) all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will operate as scheduled.

The last flights to operate between Dubai and Doha today (05 June 2017) are as follows (All times are local):

  • FZ019 departing from Dubai (DXB) at 21:25 and arriving in Doha (DOH) at 21:25
  • FZ020 departing from Doha (DOH) at 22:40 and arriving in Dubai (DXB) at 00:50
  • FZ5001 departing from Dubai (DWC) at 20:20 and arriving in Doha (DOH) at 20:25
  • FZ5002 departing from Doha (DOH) at 21:25 and arriving in Dubai (DWC) at 23:35

Saudia and Gulf air have also suspended flights to Qatar. However, it seems Qatar Airways would be the worst impacted by this move. Given they are one of the bigger carriers in the Middle East, they use the airspace of the other countries a lot. I currently see that except for one flight over Saudi Arabia, all other Qatar Airways flights are clustered away from these countries and now flying over Iran.

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This would mean longer flying times for those flying Qatar Airways. Doha – Dubai is a very busy route for the airline, and while Qatar Airways has not officially shut down the route as of now, this should happen any moment now. They have only shut down flights for today to Saudi Arabia at the moment. You should monitor the Qatar Airways Travel Alerts page.

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Also, Qatar Airways has more flights to the countries in the Middle East which are banning them, than vice versa.

According to CAPA, while Saudi Arabia is within its rights to close airspace to Qatar Airways, as they are not signatories to the Chicago Agreement governing overflights, the other neighbors are in the wrong here and may not impose a ban.

I’m sure this is going to be chaotic. We will try and be on top of the situation. In the meanwhile, advise you to contact your airline before you start flying incase, you are going to be flying on Qatar Airways or to Qatar in the coming days.

How does this current embargo impact your future travel plans?

Comments

  1. Not only Qatar Airways, all carriers flying to Doha are being restricted to use airspace of above mentioned countries. Just see the live tracking of 6e1709 and 9w594 flying to Doha right now from Mumbai and Trivandrum respectively.

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